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Google may build early models of Glass in U.S.

Report says Google will contract with Foxconn to manufacture Glass in Silicon Valley

Early models of Google's wearable computer, Glass, may be manufactured in the U.S., according to a report.

The Glass eyewear, which is still in development, is expected to be built in Silicon Valley, The Financial Times reported, citing unnamed sources. The Times also reported that Google is working on a deal with Hon Hai Precision Industry, the Taiwanese contract manufacturer also known as Foxconn.

The manufacturer would build the computerized eye glasses in Santa Clara, Calif., the Times said.

Google declined to comment on where Glass will be manufactured.

"I think it would have only a marginal effect," said Ezra Gottheil, an analyst with Technology Business Research. "I don't think there are many people who are interested in Glass who would be held back by its being made offshore... If you wanted devices manufactured in the U.S., where would you get your smartphones, your tablets, even your PCs?"

Zeus Kerravala, an analyst with ZK Research, said he suspects Google would get a better price if they had Glass manufactured overseas but executives might think they'll have better control over the product if it's being built close to home.

He added that when Glass is ready for the mass market, Google might move the manufacturing offshore.

For Gottheil, having early models built in the U.S. may be largely about good public relations.

"Both Apple and Lenovo recently announced some U.S. manufacturing. But important to Glass? No, I don't think so," he said. "The PR is good, and it may be that it's not all that much more expensive. With a price point of "less than $1,500," it's not like they have to save pennies."

Glass has a transparent display over the right lens that shows the user an array of options, like taking a photo, video, email and sharing on a social network. The glasses are designed to be controlled by voice, gesture and touch.

Last month, Google invited volunteers to be the first to use Glass by explaining how they would use them.

On Wednesday, the company announced that it had chosen up to 8,000 testers, who are being called Explorers.

Sharon Gaudin covers the Internet and Web 2.0, emerging technologies, and desktop and laptop chips for Computerworld. Follow Sharon on Twitter at @sgaudin, on Google+ or subscribe to Sharon's RSS feed. Her email address is [email protected].

See more by Sharon Gaudin on Computerworld.com.

Read more about personal technology in Computerworld's Personal Technology Topic Center.

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